This Pac-12 Fridays miniseries on college basketball in the Conference of (real NCAA) Champions and its Midwest partners, the B1G, looks at a crazy year in the past. The two leagues put 11 teams into March Madness, and one team made it all the way to national final despite not winning the title (in fact, losing to future B1G school Maryland!). The truly wacky stuff came in the B1G, where four teams tied for the regular-season title. How does that even happen? Read on …

2002 Pac-10 PoY: Sam Clancy, F, USC (original, confirmed)

Oregon was the regular-season champ, beating out 4 other teams by 2 games in the standings. Meanwhile, the Arizona Wildcats took home the tourney trophy, and USC Trojans forward Sam Clancy (6.2 WS) won the PoY vote. What a mess to sort through! California and Stanford joined Arizona and USC in that pack of second-place teams, so we will have plenty of candidates to sort through, since Clancy finished third in value. But how to sift through the chaff? We have to try.

The Ducks placed 3 players in the Top 8, so they’re all out. Clancy was the only Trojan to make the Top 10, and the Golden Bears top player didn’t even crack our required threshold of 5.0 WS—that leaves us with Clancy or Stanford center Curtis Borchardt (6.9), who led the Pac-10 in value. He was the only Cardinal in the Top 8, although one of his teammates managed to support him with 4.4 WS. On that note, we will confirm Clancy’s vote win. He was all alone.

2002 B1G PoY: Jared Jeffries, F, Indiana (original, confirmed)

The four-way tie for first featured Illinois, Iowa, Ohio State, and Wisconsin—with Michigan State just one game behind, denying the Spartans a possible fifth-straight B1G title at the time. Hoosiers F Jared Jeffries (5.0 WS) took home the PoY hardware, long before he led Indiana to the NCAA title game. With only three players topping 5.0 WS, too, it’s a small candidate pool here joining Jeffries: Illini F Brian Cook (5.2) and Iowa guard Luke Recker (5.1). What a season!

How does the league’s Top 10 pan out? Illinois had No. 1 and No. 4 value players, so that’s going to cancel both. Meanwhile, the Hawkeyes put up the No. 2 and No. 6 players. Indiana? The No. 3 and No. 7 players. The same WS gap occurred between No. 2 and No. 3 that existed between No. 6 and No. 7. Since this is too close to discern in retrospect, we’re going to just stick with the voters at the time and confirm Jeffries’ vote win. Maybe it’s the way out? Oh well.